by Bill Wall


I think it was coach Bill Lombardy who said, "In chess, winning isn't

everything.  It is the only thing!"  As you know, chessplayers

cannot stand losing a game of chess.  Therefore, it is quite necessary

to know how to win easily without just mastering the difficult task

of playing good chess.  The art of annoying your opponent is a must

for those who do not have the time nor patience of playing master



The easiest and most common form of annoying your opponent is talking.

There are several methods that can be adopted to disturb your

opponent so as to distract him from making a good move.  One method

is to talk directly to your opponent, pointing out his bad moves and

letting him know his position is hopeless.  By the time he complains

to the tournament director, his position will be hopeless.


If your opponent is about to make a good move despite your efforts

to talk to him directly, then yell out "touch move" just before he

moves his piece.  Of course he will deny ever touching anything.

An argument will result, upsetting your opponent so much that he

will have forgotten his original plan or think the almost touched

piece was a losing move and make a weaker move instead.


Another effective method is to talk to spectators about your opponent

and perhaps start ugly rumors about him ("he has AIDS").  People will

soon be staring at your opponent, will start to snicker and point at

him.  This will make your opponent very uncomfortable and will take

his mind off of chess.  If that doesn't work, discuss your opponent's

playing ability or talk about his hygiene habits.  This will draw

your opponent into the discussion with an argument and he will have

forgotten all about his game.


Another common method is to talk to yourself.  Talking to God or

praying out loud are other variations.  Mumbling and even laughing

at your opponent's moves and getting friends to laugh, also, will

surely distract him from making strong moves.


Other methods of disturbances are to cough, sneeze, and blow your

nose loudly during the game.  Spread lots of germs and let your

opponent know that you may have some awful disease.  If he thinks

your disease is contagious, he will leave the board often, unable

to concentrate on the game.


If your opponent is slow in moving, drum and tap your fingers on

the table.  Act very impatient.  You should heave a sigh, then yawn;

look at the chess clock or your watch often; and finally, groan.

Your opponent will be induced to make hasty moves so as not to

appear a slowpoke.


When you exchange pieces, always put one of your opponent's pawn or

piece on your lap or hidden somewhere else.  If your opponent likes

to compare the pieces that have been exchanged, he will think he is

winning and ease up a bit.  If you are a piece up, roll the extra

piece in your hands or toss it up in the air a few times.  Let your

opponent know he is an exchange down and there is no hope for him.


For the musically inclined, humming is a favorite nuisance. 

Aggressive players can go into a full song accompanied by the

gestures of a conductor.  Bringing a radio along and occasionally

turning it on during critical times of the game works.  If your

opponent is a sports fan, tune in to some important sports event.


When smoking is allowed, it is best to get the foulest, blackest

cigars or pipes.  A lot of smoke towards your opponent not only

obscures the position of the board, but causes your opponent to

choke and become blind from the smoke in his eyes.


A method popular among grandmasters for annoying an opponent is

to stare directly and deliberately at your opponent.  Let your

opponent know he is being watched and stared at.  Of course, if

your opponent starts staring back at you during your move, carry

a pair of sunglasses with you and slip them on.  The mirror

reflection type is best just in case your opponent or his guru

is trying to hypnotize you.


When you think you have a good position, rock your chair back and

forth, smile victoriously, and let everyone know you have a won

position.  Your opponent will lose that much more quickly even if

he doesn't see any threat.


With the help of a friend, you can plan on taking pictures of the

game.  Make sure a bright flash can be produced.  Just before your

opponent reaches to make a move, your friend flashes the camera

and blinds your opponent temporarily.  He then touches the wrong

piece which he must move as there are not only witnesses but a

picture of it with a second snapshot.


There is just one more kind of annoyance worth mentioning.  Of all

the annoyances to an opponent you can make, this is the most

devestating of all.  Although it is very infrequent in occurrence

and almost entirely accidental, it is the most annoying and

upsetting disturbance known to chess.  It is called making a

strong move!